Suddenly, Last Summer
What's it About
When wealthy matron Mrs. Violet Venable (Hepburn) enlists renowned Chicago brain surgeon Dr. John Cukrowicz (Clift), to lobotomize niece Catherine (Taylor), institutionalized since the death of Violet's son Sebastian the previous summer, he sets out to discover what happened to the young woman. But the formidable Violet, nursing a dark family secret, seems intent on thwarting Dr. Cukrowicz's inquiry.
Why We Love It
A lurid Southern Gothic tale adapted by Gore Vidal from a one-act Tennessee Williams play, Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s “Suddenly, Last Summer” is a trifle campy and overheated, but rich with smart, biting dialogue. Hepburn is haughty and indomitable as an overprotective mother, while Taylor is rivetingly sensual even in the apoplectic fits of distress we witness in the climactic flashback scene. Mankiewicz handles themes of forbidden desire and depravity with consummate skill, making this a memorable “Summer” indeed.